Maycock, James Dottin

James Dottin Maycock was born in Barbados, the eldest son of Catherine O’Brien and Dottin Maycock (1742-1793), Solicitor General of Barbados.He was educated at Harrow2 and the University of Edinburgh where he gained a medical degree in 1811.3 In 1812 he married Sarah Scott Lowe (1787-1862), the daughter of James Lowe of Gregg Farm, Barbados, at St Swithin’s Church.4 By 1815, the couple had returned to Barbados where James Dottin Maycock practised as a physician and surgeon. Their eight children were all born in Barbados.  James Dottin Maycock gave evidence for the Inquiry held after the 1816 Bussa Slave Rebellion. This rebellion was organised and planned by senior enslaved people, led by Bussa, who was an enslaved man born in Africa. Little is known about Bussa, but several hundred enslaved people destroyed valuable sugar crops across numerous plantations by arson under Bussa’s leadership. The rebellion lasted three days and was curtailed by local soldiers (militia) and troops stationed on the island who had the advantage of firepower.5 In the aftermath of the rebellion, Maycock argued in support of enslavers that enslaved people were well cared for by the planters. Maycock furthered his point by blaming the rebellion on the rise of abolitionism in England which he considered “might have encouraged or deluded the slaves to rebel”. However, resistance by enslaved people had always existed in covert and overt ways.  

Maycock had a seat on the Legislative Council of Barbados and the 1820 Slave Register for Barbados lists 170 enslaved people under his name6. He owned the Mellowes estate7, which had been inherited by his wife, and the Waterford Estate which he had purchased from Ann Boxill in about 18198, although the property was heavily mortgaged, and his son did not receive any compensation for it. In 1830 Maycock was made Professor of Medicine at Codrington College which was owned by the Society for the Propagation of the Christian Religion in Foreign Parts.9 This was dedicated to evangelising Christianity in former British colonies particularly in North America and the Caribbean, particularly in the first half of the 18th century.10  Maycock was the author of Flora Barbadensis (1830)11 a botanical catalogue of plants – indigenous, cultivated and naturalised – in Barbados. 

He died in Clifton, Bristol, and was buried in Bath Abbey. Other members of his family are memorialised in the Abbey but buried in Bathwick St Mary’s.

Reviewed by Lisa Kennedy, Consultant, 2023.

  1. Barbados, Church Records, 1637-1849 for Doting Maycock. Ancestry.com database on-line 2013. Accessed from Ancestry.co.uk – Barbados, Church Records, 1637-1849 Accessed on 13/06/2023

  2. Daughlish Milverton Godfrey. The Harrow School Register, 1800-1911. 1st ed., 1894, Comp/ and Ed. By R. Courney Welch … 2d ed., 1901. Harrow School. Published by London, Longmans, Green and Co. 1911. Accessed from The Harrow School register, 1800-1911. 1st ed., 1894, comp. and ed. by R. Courtenay Welch … 2d ed., 1901 : Harrow School : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive Accessed on 13/06/2023

  3. The Scottish Magazine and Edinburgh Literary Miscellany: Being A general Repository of Literature, History, and Politics for 1811.  The Scots Magazine (and Edinburgh Literary Miscellany) Vol.73. Page. 553. Printed by T. Allan & Co. 1811 Accessed from The Scots Magazine (and Edinburgh Literary Miscellany). – Google Books Accessed on 13/06/2023

  4. Somerset Heritage Service. James Dotting Maycock. Somerset, England, Marriage Registers, Bonds and Allegations 1754-1914. (1801-1812). Ancestry.com database on-line. Accessed from Ancestry.co.uk – Somerset, England, Marriage Registers, Bonds and Allegations, 1754-1914 Accessed on 13/06/2023

  5. National Archives. Bussa’s Rebellion: how and why did the enslaved Africans of Barbados rebel in 1816?  National Archives Education Services Accessed from Microsoft Word – bussa.doc (yale.edu) Accessed on 13/06/2023

  6. Former British Colonial Dependencies, Slave Registers, 1813-1834. 1820 Part.1 Ancestry.com database on-line. Accessed from Ancestry.co.uk – Former British Colonial Dependencies, Slave Registers, 1813-1834 Accessed on 13/06/2023

  7. Univeristy College London. Mellows; Barbados, St Joseph. Estate Details. Legacies of British Slavery – UCL Department of History 2023 Accessed from Details of Estate | Legacies of British Slavery (ucl.ac.uk) Accessed on 13/06/2023

  8. Univeristy College London. Waterford; Barbados, St Michael. Estate Details. Legacies of British Slavery – UCL Department of History 2023 Accessed from Details of Estate | Legacies of British Slavery (ucl.ac.uk) Accessed on 13/06/2023

  9. Parry, Thomas. Cordington College in the Island of Barbados. 1874. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. Printed in London. Accessed from Codrington College, in the Island of Barbados – Thomas PARRY (Bishop of Barbadoes.) – Google Books Accessed on 13/06/2023

  10. Pridmore, Isobel. A Brief Introduction: The Records of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts. British Online Archives. 10/03/2021 Accessed fromA Brief Introduction: The Records of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in… | British Online Archives (microform.digital) Accessed on 13/06/2023

  11. Maycock, James Dottin. Flora Barbadensis: a catalogue of plants, indigenous, naturalized, and cultivated, in Barbados. To which is prefixed, a geological description of the island. London: J Ridgeway 1830. Accessed from Flora Barbadensis: a catalogue of plants, indigenous, naturalized, and cultivated, in Barbados. To which is prefixed, a geological description of the island : Maycock, James Dottin : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive Accessed on 13/06/2023

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